By Law Offices of Timothy Grabe April 07, Due to the introduction and widespread adoption of smartphones in modern America, texting while driving has become a commonplace occurrence on the roads. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can do behind the wheel, as the physical, cognitive, and visual distraction of a cell phone can cause a person to miss upcoming hazards and skyrocket their chances of being involved in a collision. But is distracted driving more dangerous than driving drunk? According to a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Utah, drivers who use their cell phones behind the wheel to send and receive messages expose themselves to the same risk of being involved in an accident as an intoxicated driver.
If it rang, she picked it up. If she thought of information to share, she dialed. Besides, she figured, she was careful. But then, in September last year, a driver using a cellphone plowed through a red light and slammed into Ms. He had been on the phone for less than a minute.
Visibility on the road was excellent. But the police report said that when a trooper asked him what color the traffic light had been, the distraught young man responded that he never saw it.
So I started researching. And studies repeatedly showed that hands-free headsets — sometimes advertised as safer — were no less dangerous.
Could you pass a US citizenship test? But momentum has picked up recently with some high-profile fatal crashes, including a number involving teens texting while driving. And last month, in what many saw as a coming of age for the movement, the US Department of Transportation hosted a distracted driving summit, where Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood called for action against what he termed a "deadly epidemic.
And it seems to be getting worse every year," he said. But he and others say that the fight against distracted driving could be much harder than other public-safety efforts, including the anti-drunken-driving movement that swept the country in the s.
Far more people talk on their cellphones and use other electronic gadgets in the car than drive drunk, safety officials say. One study observing New York drivers, for instance, showed that the law did little to reduce the number of drivers with phones to ears.
While dozens of countries — from Australia to Zimbabwe — take a harsh view of this behavior and have banned hand-held phones in cars, there is little social stigma in the US.
Moreover, some research suggests that Americans are actually addicted to their phones. Harvard University psychiatrist John Ratey and other researchers have found that the brain receives a rush when it processes a text message or ring — the same high a gambler feels when hitting the jackpot.
A distracted driver has what psychologists call "inattention blindness" — the brain does not process what is physically within eyesight, such as a red light. The movement against distracted driving has increasingly focused on what it considers a deadly mix of two American passions: A AAA Foundation study found that But two-thirds of those people admitted talking on their own phones while driving, and 1 in 7 have texted while driving.
Similarly, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study, in which data collectors observed drivers, estimated that 6 percent of drivers at any time are on the phone. Using neuroimaging and a drive simulator, he and his colleagues have watched what happens when drivers — including those who claim to be able to text, tweet, and talk safely at the wheel — mix cellphones and cars.
The results are stark: Almost nobody multiprocesses the way they think they can. For 98 percent of the population, regardless of age, the likelihood of a crash while on a cellphone increases fourfold; the reaction to simulated traffic lights, pedestrians, and vehicles is comparable to that of someone legally intoxicated.
Strayer also found little difference between those using hand-held cellphones and those on hands-free headsets. The disruption, he says, is cognitive. Unlike a conversation with a passenger sharing the same physical space of the car, the electronic conversation takes a driver into a virtual space away from the road.
While the number of cellphone subscribers has rocketed to million in the US — the number of auto fatalities has remained stable, at about 40, deaths a year.
The US Department of Transportation estimates that 6, of those are the result of distracted driving, but it has no specific statistics for phone-related deaths.
The number of crashes has also remained steady. Although I would never suggest that that means to talk more in the car. Rader says his group is studying how much the fatality rate should have dropped, given increased safety measures — such as better road construction and improved braking systems — as a way to gauge the real impact of cellphone use.
Another explanation for the statistics, safety experts say, is that people tend to lie about their phone use in crashes.
The lack of solid statistics means that advocates are constantly explaining themselves and often face an uphill battle in convincing legislatures to enact new cellphone laws.
But recently, the legislative tide has started to turn — thanks, in large part, to text messaging. Texting drivers are easy to spot. In September, an year-old died when she crashed her car into a tree seconds after receiving a text message. But Chief Massak says he has never issued a ticket for texting.Apr 10, · Texting and driving is still the norm among teen drivers, a new study finds.
Texting while driving: the new drunk driving. The dangers surrounding texting while driving are so intense because. If a distracted driving crash leads to an injury or death of another person, the driver may be convicted of anywhere between a class C and class A felony – five to 20 years in prison and a fine of anywhere between $50, and $, Apr 04, · Even so, enforcement of distracted driving laws seems spotty.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 read or send text or email messages while in traffic.
The results were “texting driver travels twenty-five more feet before stopping while drunk driver travels four more feet before stopping,” (attheheels.com).
Texting while driving is a bigger distraction than drunk driving as illustrated by the study. While texting and cell phone use is the most commonly thought of cause of distracted driving, other distracting dangers include loose pets in the car, fiddling with the radio, eating, talking to a passenger, and anything else that has the potential to cause an accident.
Texting and driving vs. drinking and driving: which is worse for teen drivers?
Texting and Driving vs. Drinking and Driving For Teen Drivers and a State Farm survey conducted just a few years earlier revealed that teens believe that drinking and driving was more dangerous than texting. While more than half of surveyed teens believed.